US President Donald Trump has fired back at US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s accusation that he is engaged in a cover-up over the Mueller Russia investigation, saying “I don’t do cover-ups”.
Visibly angered by Pelosi’s remarks, Trump also said at a hastily arranged White House appearance he would not work with Democrats on a major infrastructure proposal because of “phony” investigations they are pursuing in Congress.
The Republican president added that he was upset that Democratic lawmakers discussed the possibility of impeaching him before a White House meeting on infrastructure.
And Trump repeated his previous comments about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election and whether Trump impeded Mueller’s inquiry.
“No collusion, no obstruction, no nothing,” Trump said on Wednesday. “This whole thing was a take-down attempt at the president of the United States.”
Regarding the infrastructure meeting, Trump said he told Democrats he had wanted to focus on infrastructure.
“I walked into the room and I told Senator (Chuck) Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, I want to do infrastructure. I want to do it more than you want to do it. I’d be really good at that – that’s what I do. But you know what? You can’t do it under these circumstances. So get these phony investigations over with.”
At a press conference with Senate Democratic Leader Schumer, Pelosi told reporters Trump may have lacked the confidence to work with Democrats on infrastructure. She said she prays for Trump.
Schumer said watching what happened at the meeting between the president and Democratic lawmakers “would make your jaw drop”.
He said that when Trump was asked how he would pay for an infrastructure plan “he had to run away”.
As Democrats in Congress debated impeaching Trump, Pelosi said on Wednesday, about an hour before a White House meeting with him, that Trump is engaged in a “cover-up”.
The president is stonewalling multiple congressional investigations by ignoring subpoenas, refusing to allow current and former advisers to testify, and not handing over documents, steps that have aggravated a confrontation with Congress.
“No one is above the law, including the president of the United States. And we believe that the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up,” Pelosi told reporters after a morning meeting of House Democrats.
Trump and Democrats who control the House are engaged in a high-stakes power struggle over their ability to investigate him, with the president increasingly asserting that his advisers need not respond to lawmakers’ inquiries.